Home' The Australian Senior Traveller : October 2009 Contents www.thesenior.com.au
THE SENIOR TRAVELLER October, 2009 17
SPECIAL HOLIDAY FEATURE
When our cyclo saviour
creaked to a halt outside
the hotel, we tumbled out,
drenched and wondering what
we were in for.
It was a typical Vietnamese
building, narrow-fronted with a
small lobby and a battery of
computers lining the only
There were mounds of huge,
smelly backpacks and wet back-
packers queueing up to get onto
the internet. They no doubt
wanted to reassure someone,
via the ether, that they hadn't
After checking in, because
there was no lift, we tottered up
four flights of the grand marble
staircase to our room, each car-
rying our overnight bag. A very
cheerful young lad carried our
case and bounded ahead of us,
only stopping on each landing
to urge us on, as one would
encourage two ancient nags
who found themselves running
last in the Grand National.
Our room was a gem. The
floor was of dark brown wood,
polished by years of slippered
feet, and taking up half the far
wall was an old wardrobe that
held two lovely raw silk
kimonos, two pairs of slippers
and two enormous umbrellas.
Best of all, though, was the
huge, ornately carved bed. This
was a fascinating piece, which
apart from the sheer size and
the very intricate carvings on
all visible surfaces, had a
hinged, sloping headboard.
When I (naturally) investi-
gated what was behind it, I
expected to meet a wisened old
Viet Cong gentleman lurking in
one of the many deeply-
recessed compartments that
lead to the Cu Chi tunnels, who
would ask me whether the war
was over yet.
Sitting in a corner was a com-
puter, which looked a little out
of place, but worked perfectly.
It was serendipity that
brought us to this part of old
Hoi An. It gave us the chance to
wander around a part of the
town that we otherwise would
not have seen.
Everywhere there was space,
people hung sodden clothes,
bedding and furniture. We
picked our way down the nar-
row streets, firstly wearing pon-
chos but soon discarded these
for umbrellas. The ponchos
turned us into mobile saunas
and also limited our vision.
It was a constant source of
delight to watch the cyclists
and motorcyclists riding along,
dodging each other while hold-
ing an umbrella aloft and
clutching a child or grandma.
We also were intrigued to see
a huge, cooked pig on a spit,
headless, over cold coals, just
waiting it seemed for the barbe-
cue feast to begin. No people
around waiting for their chop.
We almost felt obliged to stay
and keep him company, he
looked so forlorn.
We walked on, wondering
why he was abandoned and
why he had lost his head.
After two nights, we were
amazed to get a call from the Ha
An hotel. "Come home, we are
sending a taxi for you".
We were greeted on our
return by what seemed to be the
entire staff. Two of the girls
hugged me and one of them
said, "Oh Mama, we thought
you and Papa would go home
after your terrible trial".
We were staggered by the
amount of work they had done
to get the hotel up and running
again in such a short time. The
rooms had that slight musty
smell left after the waters
receded but it wasn't offensive
and we settled in happily.
The streets were still full of
mud so that was a good excuse
not to go walking again that
day. Instead we lounged around
until it was time for dinner. Oh
what a dinner.. steamed won-
tons (a local delicacy called
white rose dumplings), chicken
and ginger, steamed vegetable
spring rolls and a bottle of
French wine. Bliss.
Because of the mud every-
where, sightseeing is difficult,
but we managed to slop our way
through the market areas and
into the street of tailors. Of
course we were measured for
some clothes in the tailors'
shops and will go back later to
collect them. Ron ordered four
silk shirts for $12 each.
After measuring us, one of
the staff members couldn't
restrain herself and asked us
how old we were. When we told
them, they said, in chorus, "But
you are so old! And you are so
big and strong!"
The weather continued
inclement so we hired two cyc-
los to pick us up the next day.
When the cyclo drivers turned
up in the morning, their cyclos
were waterproofed and looked
for all the world like the cov-
ered prams we used to push on
rainy days, with babies snug
Now I know how babies
Well, tomorrow we leave Hoi
An and make our way back to
Da Nang, via Marble Mountain,
the Cham museum and China
Beach. From Da Nang we will
fly to Hanoi. Despite the wet
weather, we have loved
Hoi An and hope to come
Earlier this year, Senior Traveller published an email
sent from Vietnam by reader Lorraine Denny
describing how she and her husband Ron were
caught in a flood in Hoi An, evacuated from the Ha An
hotel and delivered to higher ground by a man in a
cyclo. Here she takes up the story in her second
email home from the Phuoc An hotel, their refuge
above the flood line in the old quarter of Hoi An.
COVER UP -- Lorraine Denny tucked up safely in her cyclo.
Also: 'Cossack Capers'
Vladivostok to Moscow by train
then cruise to St Petersburg:
Departs 28 May and 1 Aug.
Ask for details.
THE LEGENDARY TRANS-SIBERIAN EXPRESS!
A thrilling 27-day escorted tour on the world's most famous train.
This is a golden opportunity to experience the world's greatest railway journey; an epic 8000
kilometre trip from China to Finland, through Mongolia, Siberia and western
Russia. Join us in our 20th anniversary year and find out why thousands of Australian
travellers have described this as 'the journey of a lifetime'.
Stopovers in Beijing, Ulaan Baatar (Mongolia), Irkutsk (Siberia), Moscow, St Petersburg
2010 DEPARTURES (from all Australian capitals): 22 April, 31 May, 2 July, 2 Aug,
6 Sep and 13 Dec (Christmas & New Year special).
TOUR COST: $12,979 Inc: All flights & taxes, transfers, all ground transport, all accom,all
sightseeing & entrance fees, local guides, tour escort, visas & courier fees, all meals as specified (54),
all tips and gratuities. Not inc: Insurance and personal spending. Single supp: $2,697.
Win a free trip! 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of our escorted adventures and to celebrate we
are offering all travellers the chance to win back the total cost of their 'Legendary Trans-Siberian' tour. Simply book
and deposit for any of our 2010 Trans-Siberian departures by 30 November 2009 and you will automatically be
entered into a draw to win this fantastic prize, valued at $12,979.
Lic no: 9TA 00 295
NEW 2010 BROCHURE OUT NOW! CALL: 1300 856 661 or visit www.traveldirectors.com.au
Ou b st li s!
• SABAH • FIJI • VANUATU
• NORFOLK ISLAND
Sabah Borneo Malaysia
8 DAY/7 NIGHT -- Dep monthly
April to October 2010
•RTN Airfares, Taxes, Transfers, 3.5* Port Vila
accommodation • All meals, Island village cultural &
heritage tours • Local school visit and concert performance
Vanuatu - Island Adventure
8 DAY/7 NIGHT -- Dep all-year-round
NORFOLK ISLAND CHRISTMAS TOUR
F m $2,379*
8 DAY/7 NIGHT -- 20th - 27th December
• RTN Airfares, Taxes, Transfers • 3.5* accommodation,
Breakfast & dinner daily • Island culture, history &
photography tours, themed dinners, entertainment &
interactive shows, and nature walks
Norfolk Island - Historic
F m $2,399*
8 DAY/7 NIGHT -- Dep Monthly
April to October 2010
•RTN Airfares, Taxes, Transfers • 3 nights 3.5* Nadi Resort,
1 night Coral Coast/Suva, 1 night Raki Raki • 3 day/ 2 night
Blue Lagoon MV Nanuya Princess •Breakfast daily &
most meals •Cultural, heritage, art & craft tours
•Local school visit and concert performance
F m $2,299*
F m $2,199*
CONTACT GO SEE TOURING
Call 1300 551 997
F m $2,399*
8 DAY/7 NIGHT -- Dep Monthly
April to November 2010
THE SABAH BORNEO
LONG STA F m $3,699*
30 DAY/29 NIGHT -- Available
July to September 2010
•RTN Airfares, Taxes, Transfers, 3.5*
Tuaran Beach Resort Studio Unit • All
meals, Tours to see the wildlife, city sights,
world heritage listed Kinabalu
Fiji - Coach & Cruise
Terms and Conditions: *Prices are subject to availability, change and
city of departure. Prices are based on per person twin share.
Single supplement available. Conditions Apply.
Aust Travel Agent Licence 4/9351
Links Archive September 2009 November 2009 Navigation Previous Page Next Page